Wednesday, September 7

Daily WHUFC News - 7th September 2016

Ginge reaches half century

A Hammers defender earned a half-century of international caps on Monday
There was also action for Darren Randolph in goal for the Republic of
Coming on from the bench, Angelo Ogbonna helped Italy record a 3-1 win in
FIFA World Cup qualifying

West Ham United defender James Collins earned his 50th international cap on
Monday night as his Wales side thrashed Moldova 4-0 in FIFA World Cup
qualifying. Following a superb UEFA Euro 2016 campaign, Chris Coleman's men
were in a confident mood at the Cardiff City Stadium in Group D as Gareth
Bale's brace sealed the important victory on home soil. Burnley forward Sam
Vokes had opened the scoring in the first period before Joe Allen doubled
the advantage just before the break. Real Madrid superstar Bale then bagged
a wonderful solo effort five minutes after the restart before adding a
fourth from the penalty spot in injury time after Collins had replaced
Ashley Williams to wear the Dragons' shirt for the 50th time.

Elsewhere in World Cup qualifiying action, Darren Randolph played 90 minutes
for the Republic of Ireland as they began their Group D campaign with a
respectable 2-2 draw away in Serbia.
New Burnley signing Jeff Hendrick gave the visitors the dream start after
just three minutes but the hosts hit back through Filip Kostic and
Southampton's Dusan Tadic in the second 45 to take the lead. Martin
O'Neill's side were not beaten though, and new Newcastle United forward
Daryl Murphy struck his first international goal to earn Randolph's men a
point in their qualifying opener.

Elsewhere, Hammers defender Angelo Ogbonna played just under half an hour
for Italy as the Azzurri triumphed 3-1 in Israel. Ex-West Ham defender Tal
Ben Haim bagged for the hosts but by then, they had already conceded twice
through former Saints man Graziano Pelle and Antonio Candreva. Italy sub
and Lazio forward Ciro Immobile sealed the win in Group D for Italy with
less than ten minutes remaining.

Gokhan Tore was an unsused substitute for Turkey as they drew with West Ham
manager Slaven Bilic's Croatian national side 1-1, while Spain hammered
Liechtenstein 8-0 with Hammers keeper Adrian on the bench.

Payet targets winning start

Dimitri Payet set to start as France embark on 2018 FIFA World Cup
qualifying campaign
Les Bleus start their Group A fixtures with a difficult-looking game in
Belarus on Friday
Payet has 27 caps and six goals for his country and finished as a runner-up
at Euro 2016

Dimitri Payet is taking nothing for granted as France embark on their 2018
FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in Belarus on Tuesday. Les Bleus begin
their Group A challenge in Borisov on the back of a run to the final of UEFA
Euro 2016, where they were edged out by Portugal in Paris. While that
disappointment is still fresh in France's memory, Payet knows they cannot
afford to lick their wounds when they face a Belarus side ranked 70th in the
world. And, having beaten Italy 3-1 in a friendly in Bari last week, the
Hammer of the Year is confident of getting the qualification off to a
winning start. "Obviously the Italy game was just a friendly match, but we
know the importance of getting our qualification campaign underway with a
good result," said Payet, who is set to earn his 28th cap on Tuesday
evening. "We said it at the Euros, but there's not much of a gap anymore
between national football's 'big' teams and the 'small' countries. I think
that today, all international footballers are at a good level and we saw at
the Euros that the gap between teams wasn't what it was in the past, so
every match is going to be difficult, and [on Tuesday] especially as we are
playing away from home."

Having only recently returned from a knock suffered in the Premier League
opener at Chelsea, Payet was introduced as a half-time substitute against
the Italians last Thursday evening. Even then, the No27 produced a typically
virtuoso performance, helping France to complete an impressive victory over
the Azzurri. Payet wants France to produce a similarly effective display in
Borisov, where he believes the Belarussians will be highly motivated to
score an upset over Didier Deschamps' men. That said, the Reunion-born
playmaker remains confident that the visitors will get the job done and make
a winning start at Borisov-Arena. "We saw it against Italy, we started the
match well and managed to score quite quickly, so I think that's also the
key to ensuring success in our match," Payet told "Obviously, we've
gained some status following the Euros; that's a reputation we need to live
with and take on board – teams will be trying to study our game, will want
to turn us over, to beat us, so we still in some way get great motivation
from being ready to stand up to all that. "After the Euros, the team and our
fans want to be able to ride that wave, and we know that only happens
through winning, so now the ball is in our court…"

Premier League Cup draw made

Hammers to kick-off defence of Premier League Cup at home to Leicester City
Terry Westley's side will also face Nottingham Forest and Brighton in group
West Ham United won competition by beating Hull City in last season's final

West Ham United PL2 will begin the defence of their Premier League Cup crown
with a home tie against Leicester City. The young Hammers will start their
campaign at home to the Foxes on the weekend of 30 September-3 October, with
a final date and kick-off time for the Chigwell Construction Stadium fixture
to be arranged. Terry Westley's young professionals will then travel to the
East Midlands to face Nottingham Forest at the beginning of November before
ending their Group E fixtures at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on the
first weekend in December. The return fixtures will be played in the New
Year. The Hammers will be looking to defend the title they won in dramatic
fashion in May with a penalty shootout win over Hull City. Similar to the
new Premier League 2 league competition, the Premier League Cup is open to
players under the age of 23 with the provision for three over-age outfield
players and one over-age goalkeeper in each team. Admission for West Ham's
home matches will be FREE for London Stadium Season Ticket Holders. For
non-Season Ticket Holders, tickets will be priced at £5 for Adults and £3
for O65s/U16s.

Premier League Cup Group E fixtures

West Ham United v Leicester City, Chigwell Construction Stadium, 30
September-3 October 2016
Nottingham Forest v West Ham United, TBC, 4-7 November 2016
West Ham United v Brighton & Hove Albion, Chigwell Construction Stadium, 2-5
December 2016
Leicester City v West Ham United, TBC, 20-23 January 2017
West Ham United v Nottingham Forest, Chigwell Construction Stadium, 10-13
February 2017
Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United, TBC, 24-27 February 2017

The Big Interview - Ashley Fletcher

Ashley Fletcher has wasted no time settling into his new surroundings
following his summer move from Manchester United and has become an
established first-team member in the opening part of the season.

The talented forward impressed as a second half substitute against Astra
Giurgiu in the Europa League and made his first full start in the last
Premier League game against Manchester City.

Fletcher is now hoping to cement his place in the squad and show he is good
enough to compete in the top flight on a regular basis....

Ashley, how special was it for you to make your Premier League debut in
Manchester at the Etihad Stadium and do you feel ready to compete at the
highest level?

AF: "It was everything I dreamed it would be, to be fair. Making my debut
back in Manchester, where I've grown up and doing it against City, one of
the best teams in the country, unfortunately we couldn't get the result, but
it's a day I'll never forget.

"The manager said he thought I had a good game and that he hopes it's the
first game of many.

"We know we let ourselves down against City, in the first half we couldn't
really lay a glove on them, but in the second half we came out fighting. The
manager said to go out there and prove that we are a good team.

"We were missing a few key players but that wasn't enough of an excuse for
our performance, we know we should have done better.

"I think I've settled in very well, everyone's welcomes me with open arms
really, the players, the fans and all the staff so I'm loving every minute."

How much are you enjoying playing at the new Stadium and performing in front
of nearly 60,000 fans every home game?

AF: "The fans are a massive part of the club, and every home game is very
special. Obviously it's up to us to make them happy.

"It was fantastic to play at the new Stadium. The atmosphere was
unbelievable, for me to come on in such an important game (against Astra),
and I'd like to think I made a bit of a difference.

"The result didn't go our way, but the match was about trying to show the
manager what I can do."

How disappointing was it for you to see the Hammers go out of the Europa
League before the group stages took place?

AF: "It was very disappointing to be knocked out of Europe so early, but it
does give us an opportunity to do well in the league.

"I think we've added a lot of quality to the team with some of the new
signings; Simone Zaza, Lanzini, Feghouli – players of that calibre. It just
shows the club's ambition and I hope the fans see that. Added to the new
stadium, we could be in for a very exciting season."

Following the defeat against Manchester City, how important is it that the
team gets straight back on the winning trail when they face Watford on

AF: "Watford are a good team. They have also added to their squad in the
summer so it's going to be another tough game."

What are you hopes for the rest of the season and what would you like to
achieve at West Ham United?

AF: "My personal ambitions are to get as many games and as many minutes as

"Whether it's starting games or coming off the bench, I want to be involved
as much as possible. I think I've made a good start and made an impact so
far and hopefully that continues."

Finally, what is it like for you to hear the West Ham fans singing Bubbles
when you first go out onto the pitch?

AF: "It's incredible, hearing 57,000 fans signing bubbles is amazing, I got
goosebumps the first time I heard it, I'd never heard it live before, so
when I heard that, I thought "wow, what a club."


West Ham co-owner David Gold has today confirmed that the club are in
early-stage talks to make the 'London Stadium' the first Premier League
ground to have a 'safe standing' area. This technology, which has been the
subject of debate for decades, would allow the Irons to tackle the ongoing
friction between those who wish to stand, and those who wish to remain
seated at the new stadium.
Standing is a key part of British football culture in a way that isn't so
prevalent in some countries, so the idea that fans want to stand for the
full 90 minutes, even with a seat available, may seem strange to foreign
fans. It is also a culture that is not catered for in the age of the
all-seater, with Premier League and Olympic Stadium rules prohibiting
individuals from 'persistently standing'. However, as the last few weeks
have shown, there has been a significant proportion of the West Ham fan base
who feel disillusioned at having to sit in the new stadium, as the stewards
at Upton Park had been fairly easy-going on the subject.

Equally, there is another portion of the fans who wish to sit, either due to
personal choice, or inability to stand. These individuals have declared
frustration at having their view blocked by those who insist on standing
throughout the game, especially when they have the law on their side. This
issue has led to confrontations between fans and stewards, and is now
reaching a point where the club must surely address it.

One solution which had been proposed was a season ticket exchange, in which
people who wished to stand and people who wished to sit were relocated to
create a standing area, as had unofficially developed at Upton Park. At the
old stadium the Bobby Moore lower and Trevor Brooking lower became
synonymous with standing, and though signs were always up indicating that
standing would not be tolerated, a 'blind eye' approach was taken in these
areas. It seems, however, that the club plan to try and implement and
official recreation of this with a safe standing zone, like the one that
was installed by 'Ferco' at Celtic Park this summer

David Gold himself took to his twitter account this morning to break this
news with a rather odd third-person message, proclaiming "Gold starts safe
seating talks". Though perhaps a little confusing in it's nature, this tweet
and others like it demonstrate Gold and Sullivan's continued desire to make
the stadium suit all parties and keep the fan base as informed as possible.
It remains to be seen whether these talks bear fruit, but news of their
happening will surely come as welcome news from all sides of the standing

You can follow Co-Owner David Gold and all his tweets here:

Spurs Ladies
This is written by Alex Shilling

A youthful West Ham side missing several key players including talismanic
forward Katie Bottom were given a footballing masterclass by a rampant Spurs
side yesterday.

The Hammers, manager James Marrs admits, are still a team in transition as
they adjust to the training methods and style of play that brought the
former Brighton boss such success in the Women's Premier League last season
and it was evident yesterday on a warm afternoon at Ship Lane.

Spurs, tipped by many within the women's game as favourites for promotion
to the Super League this season, dominated the game from start to finish and
at times the Irons ladies struggled to make it out of their own half.

With Aditi Chauhan seemingly not yet ready for her first appearance since
re-joining the club over the summer, Marrs opted to give young goalkeeper
Beth Griffiths her first appearance of the season, while Katie Bottom, Danni
Ritson and Chelsea Hinz all missed out through injury.

Although the Hammers made the early running in the opening minutes, it
didn't take long for the visitors to get on the scoresheet.

A hurried clearance from Griffiths fell straight to Lucia Leon who
comfortably tucked away her side's first after the afternoon. The young
goalkeeper's afternoon didn't improve when she dragged down Wendy Martin
inside the box two minutes later, with full-back Eartha Ponde despatching
the penalty with ease.

Spurs were ramping the pressure up and had their third with just 10 minutes
gone as a smart interchange between Riana Soobadoo and Bianca Baptise
finished with a first-time strike from the latter, before a fierce effort
from Nikitta Whinnett surely put the game to bed.

West Ham striker Molly Peters was finding herself increasingly isolated up
front with almost the entire game being played in her own half, but with her
side four down, a smart turn on the halfway line took her away from Spurs'
skipper Schillaci only for her attempted through ball to Amy Waters to be
played just a touch early as the forward was caught offside.

Peters was once again leading the determined resistance from an
increasingly beleaguered home side and got the Irons' first shot on target,
with an easy stop for Spurs' debutant Megan Lynch.

However, there was to be no dramatic comeback as an attempted Sam Miller
tackle brought the troublesome Martin again and the Spurs striker stepped up
to grab her side's fifth with barely half an hour gone.

Number six arrived shortly as Whinnett headed in the rebound after Leon's
effort was parried by Griffiths, who had done well a couple of minutes
previously to pounce on a low Baptiste cross with Martin lurking.

Spurs' dominance continued after the break, with former Hammer Kelley
Blanchflower introduced at half time in place of Martin.

It didn't take the pacy forward long to rub salt into her old club's
wounds, as Spurs struck twice in the space of two minutes. Renee Hector
headed number seven from Baptiste's corner and then Blanchflower struck the
eighth from close range after Baptiste's shot had been deflected into her

The Irons were becoming increasingly overwhelmed in the centre of the park
again but determined performances in midfielder from Amy Cooper and at the
back from former interim manager Karen Ray were keeping the visitors from
adding to their already impressive tally.

But it couldn't last any longer, and Blanchflower grabbed her second of the
afternoon before Schillaci completed the scoring with a tap-in at the far

An afternoon to forget for West Ham Ladies, who will now go into the next
round of the FAWPL Plate as Spurs march on to the next round of the cup.
Plenty for manager James Marrs to think about ahead of next Sunday's visit
of Coventry United Ladies to Ship Lane.

OS move a 'nightmare', says steward
Filed: Tuesday, 6th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

A former Boleyn Ground steward who now works at the Olympic Stadium has told
of their "nightmare" experience following West Ham United's move. The match
day official contacted in order to express their concerns about the
safety of supporters as the result of poor organisation at the OS, following
the decision by Newham Council's Safety Advisory Group to cap the stadium
capacity at 57,000. And the source also revealed that many of their fellow
employees, who similarly followed the club from E13 to E20, were equally
disenchanted - with many ready to resign just a matter of weeks after taking
up their new posts. "The stadium operators are not listening and have no
understanding of fans' frustrations," our source, who asked us to preserve
their anonymity, told KUMB. "And if things are not addressed, the problem is
only going to get worse. "When we arrived at the new venue, many stewards
were given positions that had no bearing on their previous experience.
"Some of those who had worked directly with fans for 20 years were told to
guard lifts, whilst new stewards working their first event were asked to
deal with the public. This was enough for some to give up on the Olympic
Stadium before we'd even started!"

Our source revealed that Boleyn Ground stewards had been consulted over the
move as early as last year - although promises made during those early
meetings were soon forgotten. "Stadium Manager Steve Riley, who used to work
for Fulham, visited West Ham in November 2015 and promised that all stewards
would have the same roles in the new stadium," he revealed. "We had 330
match day staff at this point. "Unfortunately the application process was a
nightmare and some gave up at that stage. Of those 330 match day staff, only
140 have signed on to work for OCS at the Olympic Stadium - largely because
of the low pay."

The steward - who has previously worked football grounds both domestically
and abroad - firmly believes that many of the problems witnessed in the
stands already this season could have been avoided if the Boleyn Ground team
had been persuaded to move to the OS. "I was one of 40 staff in my section
at the Boleyn Ground and of those, 35 were West Ham fans," our source said.
"I feel this is a point that is lost, as the stewards that have an emotional
investment in the club tend to work much better. "That's because they share
and understand the frustration of fans, can judge the prevailing mood and
react before it happens. "Furthermore, they are not there for the money. In
many cases, they lost money just to work for West Ham. For example, I would
want five times the amount I am paid to do my job at any other club!"

As a result, inexperienced stewards have been introduced to deal with crowd
control by the stadium's operators, London Stadium 185 - a situation that
our source firmly believes has exacerbated the issues being experienced by
fans. "For some there is a complete lack of understanding of what they are
dealing with," said our source. "I have offered my thoughts but they don't
seem to understand what they are dealing with. "Some of the new stewards
said they felt unsafe. I spoke to four or five people from the club during
the game and they are frustrated too. "Against Astra Giurgiu there were less
than 70 former Boleyn Ground stewards working. If it continues, I would
expect no more than 40 to be left by the end of the year - out of around 700
Olympic Stadium staff."

Allardyce is a winner, says Kouyate
Filed: Tuesday, 6th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

Cheikhou Kouyate has backed former manager Sam Allardyce to succeed as
England manager. Allardyce, who spent four seasons at West Ham between 2011
and 2015 presided over a last-minute win against Slovakia in his first game
as national team manager last weekend. And the Senegal international, who
was signed by Big Sam two years ago this summer believes he has what it
takes to make a success of the job. "I believe Sam can do a good job because
he knows how to win games," Kouyate told Match of the Day magazine. "He
knows how to make a team dig in and perform so I think he's going to do very
well. "I was happy for him because it was my dream to come to England. When
he signed me, he said 'If you come to England, give me two or three years
and you will become a superstar!' He's an unbelievable manager and a good
And when asked whether he felt team mate and West Ham captain Mark NBoble
deserves international recognition, Kouyate's reply was unequivocal. "If he
continues to play good then why not?" he said. "I don't understand why Mark
Noble, Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell didn't play at the Euros. Maybe
this year will be a good year for them; I'll cross my fingers!"

Antonio looking forward to FIFA 17
Filed: Tuesday, 6th September 2016
By: Staff Writer

New England star Michail Antonio admits that he was "buzzing" to learn that
his trademark 'Homer Simpson' celebration is to be included in the new
version of FIFA. The latest iteration of the popular video game is released
later this month as and well as featuring West Ham United's new Olympic
Stadium home and latest signings, will also include one of the winger's most
recognised goal celebrations. Speaking to Match of the Day magazine,
Antonio said: "I noticed that [it was to be included] and I was buzzing with
that, to be honest! I'm gonna be doing that every time I score in FIFA 17!"
However it isn't just on screen that Antonio has been pleased with recent
developments. Having scored the winning goal against Bournemouth last month
he became the first Hammer to score a Premier League goal at the OS. "All
attacking players want to make their mark in history and now I have!" he
added, "I've got two marks so far, as I also played at Wembley for
Southampton and scored on my birthday. Who can say they've scored at Wembley
AND won a cup on their birthday?" And when asked to revealed what his next
celebration might be, Antonio remained tight-lipped - but gave some clues.
""I can't tell you," he said, "but it's still '90s related and it's going to
be a good one - it's going to be up there with the Homer!"

West Ham star: I rejected offers in Italy and Spain to complete Hammers move
ALVARO ARBELOA has revealed he rejected a number of offers before agreeing
to join West Ham.
PUBLISHED: 13:51, Tue, Sep 6, 2016 | UPDATED: 14:08, Tue, Sep 6, 2016

Alvaro Arbeloa says he snubbed offers in Spain and Italy before West Ham
move. The 33-year-old defender signed a one-year deal at the London Stadium
on deadline day after leaving Real Madrid at the end of last season. The
former Spain international admits he was at one point in advanced talks with
Serie A giants AC Milan and also snubbed La Liga clubs to remain loyal to
Real. And now Arbeloa, who previously spent two seasons at Liverpool, is
looking forward to getting started under Hammers manager Slaven Bilic. "The
conversations with AC Milan were at an advanced stage but the Chinese
takeover of the [Italian] club complicated the deal," Arbeloa told Spanish
radio station Cadena Cope. "I took a decision not to continue with this
option and fortunately, this offer [West Ham] came along. "I had offers from
Spain but I didn't want to wear any other shirt than that of Real Madrid in
Spain so I opted to leave. "The choice of West Ham, the club, the city, the
coach and the fans, felt good in every way and here I am. I'm very happy, I
am where I want to be and I'm looking forward to playing."

Man-of-the-match Randolph happy with a point
Updated / Sept. 5, 2016 23:31 1

Man-of-the-match Darren Randolph declared himself happy with a point after
Ireland opened their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign with a draw away to
Serbia. It was far from a vintage performance from Ireland but goals from
Jeff Hendrick and Daryl Murphy, along with a string of saves from Randolph
saw Ireland claim a point in some testing conditions. Speaking to RTÉ Sport
afterwards, Randolph said: "It's a tough place to come. The manager said
inside that it could be a very important point come the end of the group, so
yeah, I'm very happy to get a point in the first game of the group. "I just
want to do my part for the team. I got lucky today when I needed it, other
times I just happened to be in the right place at the right time but as
everyone says it was a team effort, for the boys to keep battling on to the
end and big Murph' getting the equaliser. "We knew it was going to be
tough, especially being the away team you're going to come under pressure,
with the pitch out there it was difficult at times. But again, we dug in and
typical Irish we battled out way and got something out the game."


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